Bill Scott

Bill Scott

I’ve been struggling on what to write about this week.  It really hit me, this week needs to be more about encouragement than it does formatting a radio station.  I know many of you are running non-profit radio stations.  The vast majority of my time is spent fundraising for many of you.  I know the stress of finances.  I ran my own non-profit ministry for a decade.  Making payroll, keeping the lights on, paying rent, fixing what is broke and some how trying to keep a little extra in the bank for those rainy days.  If you run a non-profit station, the money issue just never ends.

This article might be perfect timing for you today.  Perhaps you are really stressed over your donations or lack thereof.  I think this passage of scripture can really bring you some encouragement.  Earlier in the book of Mark you can read about how Jesus fed more than 5,000 with just 5 loaves of bread and two fish.  Everyone ate until they were full and yet there was still 12 baskets of leftovers.  We often talk about this miracle.  Now watch this.  His disciples of course saw this and no doubt where blown away like anyone who saw it was.  This happens again in Mark chapter 8.  Take a second and read through it.  

Mark 8-10, At about this same time he again found himself with a hungry crowd on his hands. He called his disciples together and said, “This crowd is breaking my heart. They have stuck with me for three days, and now they have nothing to eat. If I send them home hungry, they’ll faint along the way—some of them have come a long distance.”

4 His disciples responded, “What do you expect us to do about it? Buy food out here in the desert?”

5 He asked, “How much bread do you have?”

“Seven loaves,” they said.

6-10 So Jesus told the crowd to sit down on the ground. After giving thanks, he took the seven bread loaves, broke them into pieces, and gave them to his disciples so they could hand them out to the crowd. They also had a few fish. He pronounced a blessing over the fish and told his disciples to hand them out as well. The crowd ate its fill. Seven sacks of leftovers were collected.

Again, Jesus makes nothing into something.  This is the second time the disciples watch Jesus take a few loaves of bread to feed thousands of people.  Once again, Jesus provided more than enough.  They ended up picking up 7 sacks of leftovers.  Jesus just didn’t give the bare minimum, he provided all they wanted to eat and they had leftovers.  Jesus gave to them in an abundance, which makes this next passage of scripture so disturbing. 

Mark 8:13-15, 13 He then left them, got back in the boat, and headed for the other side. But the disciples forgot to pack a lunch. Except for a single loaf of bread, there wasn’t a crumb in the boat. Jesus warned, “Be very careful. Keep a sharp eye out for the contaminating yeast of Pharisees and the followers of Herod.”

16-19 Meanwhile, the disciples were finding fault with each other because they had forgotten to bring bread. Jesus overheard and said, “Why are you fussing because you forgot bread? Don’t you see the point of all this? Don’t you get it at all? Remember the five loaves I broke for the five thousand? How many baskets of leftovers did you pick up?”

They said, “Twelve.”

20 “And the seven loaves for the four thousand—how many bags full of leftovers did you get?”

“Seven.”

21 He said, “Do you still not get it?”

Wow, twice now they have seen Jesus provide in abundance for over 4,000 people at one event with just a few pieces of bread.  Now you have a few guys in a boat with one loaf of bread and they begin to freak out because they don’t have enough food.  I first read this and thought, how stupid can you be?  Then God brought to my mind how many miracles he’s done in my life.  How he has provided financially for me over the years and yet when financial hardships come my way, I often begin to stress and freak out.  I am sure Jesus has said the same out about me, “Bill, do you still not get it?”  To be honest, the answer is no at times.  I focus on the problem and not the history God has with me and how he has supplied my needs.

So hears my question to you today.  Are you facing tough times financially for your station?  Are you up against a financial mountain?  Take a minute and write down a few times in the past where God has provided miraculously for your ministry.  Look at the history of what God has done for your station.  Do you think He’s going to forget about you this time through?

I’ll finish up today with a great quote from Joni Eareckson Tada,  “Faith isn’t the ability to believe long and far into the misty future.  It’s  simply taking God at His Word and taking the next step.”

                                                               

I hope you’ll find this encouraging today.  We all need this reminder.   

Story Tellers Wanted

July 22, 2014 — 2 Comments
Ben Milton - WGTS

Ben Milton

Walk in to any radio conference and you’ll inevitably hear someone say “Content is king.”   Around them several people will nod their head sagely in agreement.  The crowd will murmur support and half a dozen people will tweet the quote. #radioforever.

Yet today as I glanced across Facebook I noticed another content creator has left the airwaves.  I’ve never been a fan of his show but I respect the daylights out of this guy for not being a run of the mill jock on the radio.  He’s smart, funny and can tell a great story.  So good at storytelling, that is indeed the title of his new job.  Story Teller.

Story Teller.

I don’t know the background as to why he left his former employer.  I know one person who works there and we talk once every 3 years for about 6 minutes.  I don’t know why he left and I don’t care.

I care that the industry lost another unique voice.  I worry that unique voice will be replaced with another voice that inevitably ends up sounding just like any number of the voices on any number of stations.  I worry that formatics have overtaken content.  Meanwhile, talent continues to take their skills to other industries and mediums.

If a jock is reading weather or traffic reports they aren’t telling stories.  They aren’t creating content.  They aren’t connecting.  They are giving information you can get from any Smartphone.

I listened to a competitor today for 45 minutes.  I heard 5 weather reports and a traffic report.  The only things I know about those jocks are their names.  I quickly forgot those names 10 minutes after I stopped listening.  It’s that kind of experience that is all too common.

There is a growing list of story tellers who now create content in other industries and mediums.  We need less traffic and weather and more story tellers. For without story tellers all we are offering is tight playlists and station liners.  We need story tellers more than ever.  We need content more than ever!

But that takes ownership investing in PD’s.  It takes PD’s with vision and leadership.  It takes talent who is willing to change and risk and be creative.  This isn’t a station problem.  It’s not a format problem.  This is an industry wide problem.


Maybe it’s time to sit down with talent who walked away and ask what we can change to make them want to use our medium to tell their stories. Maybe we sit down with the talent that’s left and ask them how we can enable them to tell stories.  Maybe it’s time we changed.

To App or Not To App

July 20, 2014 — 1 Comment
Bill Scott

Bill Scott

During the summer months my traveling is on the slow side.  I work from home on projects with the Bill Scott Group and often find myself on the back deck listening to the radio.  I listen to the radio but never on the radio.  I sit on the back deck with a bluetooth speaker and pull up an app from a radio station that I want to listen too.  The other day I was listening to the Boost in St. Louis, amazing.  All of this to say, I don’t use a radio anymore.  I had to stop and think for a moment but we don’t have a radio in the house.  Actually my 16 year old son has a radio in his closet that has never played a radio station in the last 7 years that he has owned it.

The reason for writing today is to make sure you are embracing the digital age.  If your station doesn’t have a good app, you are missing out.  No longer is having an app for your station the cool thing, the cutting edge thing, the look at me thing, it’s a necessity.  Your listeners expect you to have a good app.  More and more people are listening to you on their phones.  The good news is if you have signal issues, which many stations do, your listeners can listener through their app with no problem.  If a listener moves out of your area, they can take you with them.  You are no longer limited by your signal.  It’s a new day, something to be excited about.

Most people are surprised to realize that there are 70 million unique listeners to internet radio and that is just in the USA.  Every demographic that you can think of is plugged into internet radio.  What we are seeing right now is nothing short of a revolution.  People are migrated to digital consumption at the speed of light.  It’s a new day, the future is here and we need to embrace it.  In the last decade we have seen TV, movies, magazines all push towards digital.  Radio has been slow to embrace this and perhaps one of the last to jump on board.  The last 36 months online radio has begun to embrace the new digital season.  Having broadband everywhere, including your cars and of course all the phones and tablets that are able to steam music has helped to make this possible.  Just about as many people are listening to steaming radio as to regular radio and those numbers will surpass regular radio in the very near future.  As a side note, some internet radio stations are charging more for ads than traditional radio.  With some of the new cars having 4G built into their dashboards, it will begin to change in car listening.  The good news is the content of traditional radio is the same content listeners are looking for online.  Same content but different distribution.  


Screen Shot 2014-07-20 at 12.44.06 AMScreen Shot 2014-07-20 at 12.49.51 AMScreen Shot 2014-07-20 at 12.43.20 AM

Eyal Goldwerger CEO of TargetSpot has a lot to say about this subject, check him out if you get the chance at some point.  You can find a great video with Eyal at http://youtu.be/Dmu0q9w25HU . I love the quote from Tony Hsieh, Co-Founder, Zappos – “What you’re thinking…think bigger.”  Wow, what a challenge to radio.  We need to think much bigger and outside of our signal than we have used for years.  We have lost the battle for the new world if we allow ourself to be limited to our signal.

If your station doesn’t have an app, it’s time to buy one.  You’ll need to take your app buying very serious.  Don’t just look for the cheapest one you can grab.  You need to invest in a high end app that includes music titles, album covers, alarm clock, being able to buy a song and even make a donation from the app.  Your online listener is much more active than your traditional radio listener because they are online and can instantly respond to an ad, song etc…

I am going to end with this quote from Eyal Goldwergner, CEO of TargetSpot.  “I don’t think transmitting from an antenna is a long term valuable position.  Just think about the cost of maintaining the real-estate and the assets.  I think delivery can be so much more efficient over the wireless network.  The life span of terrestrial broadcasting is limited.”

Things that make you go uhmmmm.  I’d love to hear your comments.  If you need help in finding a radio app that will work for your station, contact me at the Bill Scott Group at Bill@BillScottGroup.com.

Bulls Eye On Your Back

July 14, 2014 — 3 Comments
Bill Scott

Bill Scott

I grew up a pastors kid, followed by 30 years of working in ministry personally.  I’d say that I’ve seen a lot.  Perhaps I have not seen it all but I’ve seen more than most…good and bad.

Lets begin with this verse and then I want to challenge all of us in Christian radio.  Working at a radio station makes you a leader and that automatically places a bulls eye on your back.

Colossians 3:5-8 The Message (MSG)

“And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy. That’s a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God. It’s because of this kind of thing that God is about to explode in anger. It wasn’t long ago that you were doing all that stuff and not knowing any better. But you know better now, so make sure it’s all gone for good: bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk.”

So often when you see a comrade fall like I wrote about not long ago, people often ask, “How did they end up doing that?”  Individuals don’t go from A-Z over night.  It’s a series of compromises they make.

The one thing I have learned over the years is that Satan is patient.  He will wait with great patience for you to become weak and then attack with all his might.  So often it’s easy to let your guard down, to coast and just cruise through life but those are the times when more than likely your attack will come.  You are changing peoples lives, seeing listeners come to Christ, folks are set free from addictions, marriages saved etc…  Don’t for a moment think that doesn’t make Satan angry at what your doing.  You are a direct threat to him.

There are a few things all of us need to be doing so we can remain strong and be ready for what Satan throws our way.  Reading God’s Word daily is at the top of the list.  Having a couple of accountability partners is huge. Being involved with other believers in church or a small group of some kind.  Those are just a couple of things we need to be doing in order to be prepared for when the attacks come.  I often meet with David Smallbone, someone who’s a friend to a lot of radio folks.  If you’ve ever had coffee with David, than you know he always ends your time together with a short devotional.  He does that because he understands the power of God’s Word.

We all have things we are dealing with.  My encouragement to you is to seek out a close friend who you can share the struggle or struggles with.  A secret sin is a deadly sin.  Be proactive.  Find the help you need.  Have someone walking with you.  This verse comes to mind when I think about walking life with an accountability partner and friend.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 English Standard Version

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!”

Know that God is using you in a great way at your radio station.  Lets make sure we are all strong, for ourselves, families and ministry.

Bill Scott

Bill Scott

I travel throughout the year doing a ton of fundraisers through ShareMedia Services.  Whatever you decide to call your fundraiser, pledge drive, donor drive, sharathon, we want your money drive etc…  The dream at each event that I go to is to reach the goal early.  This Spring I was blessed to be at a few sharathon’s that hit their goal early.

As great as it is to hit your goal early it does bring up the question…what now?  What you do next could be huge for your station both good or bad.

You have to learn to read your fundraiser in order to make the right decision should the time come that you hit your goal early and hopefully you will.

It’s the last day of your fundraiser, you are going to 6pm and it’s 3pm.  You hit the goal but you hit it with few listeners on the phone giving but praise God you made it through the finish line.  I have had station managers ask me what do we do?  We still have three or four hours to go.  My response.  Pack it up and end with a huge victory.  Why?  Because you just coasted past the finish line, it wasn’t an explosion.  You can go from a huge victory, ending early, a historic event and move on, watch it fall flat on it’s face and have listeners remember you didn’t hit your goal.  I know it was your second goal, your special project but people will just remember the goal was missed.  This turns a victory into a failure and that is something you don’t want as a station or your staff.

Ok, lets take the same scenario.  It’s the last day, going to 6pm, it’s three in the afternoon.  This time as you are about to go through the Finnish line, the phones are packed out.  The energy for giving is amazing.  You can tell your donor pool goes deep and you have yet to reach the bottom.  You hit the goal, the staff goes wild and yet the phones continue to ring.  To me that shows me theres more pent up giving.  I would quickly set up an obtainable goal to take you to the every end of sharathon.  Find a special project that your listeners can connect too.  Look at what you have been raising for the last couple of hours, this can help you guide as what is possible for your special project.  Now your station can have a double win.  

Everybody wants to be  part of a winning team, that’s why it’s so important in knowing what to do when the goal is hit early.

I would love to hear your feedback as always.  Have you hit the goal early?  What did you do that worked or failed.

The good news is, as the new fundraising season begins this September, stations have been hitting their goals around the country.  Listeners are giving.  I’ll be doing a lot of fundraisers this fall through Share Media and I expect a wonderful season of fundraising ahead.  Continue to plant the seeds now so there is something to harvest this fall.

Feel free to contact me for any info you might need.  You can reach out to ShareMedia Services by emailing jim@sharemediaservices.com.

Bill Scott

Bill Scott

At just about every fundraising event I go to, it’s not uncommon to see staff and volunteers stuffing envelopes with a confirmation letter of the listeners pledge and a quick thank you note.  You want that thank you letter to arrive at that donors home ASAP.

Traditional mail will become less of an important vehicle over the next few years.  Electronic giving is a life changing thing in the life of a radio station.  The way we receive donations is changing quickly and the way we say thank you is beginning to follow as well.

For the good or for the bad we are living in a day in age where we expect things to happen quickly.  Donors want to be thanked quickly as well and know they are appreciated.

I’m going to brag on two stations that I have seen do this really well.  Both stations wanted to make sure they honored every major donor within a short period from the time they made their gift.  You as a station need to decide what that major gift is.  Each station will come up with a different price point.

KTSY in Boise ID was the first place I saw this happen.  Station manager Brian Yeager decided he wanted to send a personal thank you to each donor that gave a $500 gift or more.  What Brian did really impressed me.  Brian or someone on his staff spent the day walking around watching for the $500 gifts to come in.  Once a $500 gift was spotted, Brian would take out his iPhone and record a personal video for that donor, then he would email that video to the donor.  Donors were blown away to receive a personal message from the manager through video.  Often the video would include a staff member and even the operator that took the donors call.  This was a first class way of saying thank you to a major donor, just minutes after they called the radio station.

WGTS in Washington DC took this idea and went a little further with it.  Station manager Kevin Krueger set up a small room that became the video studio during sharathon.  Once staff members would get off the air, they would exit into the video studio.  There was a professional open and close to the video that would be created for each donor that gave $500 or more.  The middle part of the video was personal.  Example, “Hey this is Bill Scott,  Karen, I just wanted you to know that your $1,000 gift has really meant a lot to me and the staff.  Karen, thank you for being part of the team and helping your WGTS change lives here in the DC area.”  My guess is each video was about 60 seconds long.  The feedback WGTS received from donors was amazing.  They were blown away to receive something that was really recorded just for them.  It doesn’t get much more personal than that.

Your donor want’s to know that their gift counted.  Even if your donor would never say this out loud to you and your staff, they want to be appreciated.  I know we send out a thank you letter with the donors name put into the letter, however, it’s been known for decades that this is a form letter generated by a computer.  With online giving we can now go a step further, be more personal and do so in a timely fashion.

I would think about saying thank you to your major donors in a few different ways during your next fundraising event.  1.) Take a phone and just make a very simple video thanking them for being part of the team.  Don’t make it long at all.  Thirty seconds can do the job, then email it to the donor.  2.)  Add production to the video, intro and out-tro with a personal message in the middle to the donor.  3.)  At the very least.  Sit down and send a very warm and personal email to your major donor and do so within about an hour of when the gift came in.

Your listeners have a lot of choices as to where to give their money.  All of us want to feel good about where we gave our money and if it’s a great experience, we’ll more than likely give again.  Below is an example of what WGTS did during the Spring sharathon.  I am not sure if this example has the donors name in it or not but this will give you the idea.

If you have any other methods you have used to thank your donors online, I sure would love to hear about it.  Post on the blog or email Bill@BillScottGroup.com.

Also, if you have an article you would like to share on this blog, please feel free to hit me up.

Scott Valentine

Scott Valentine from Star 99.1 NYC and “Scott and Sam”

Morning Show Tips from Scott Valentine of Star 99.1 NYC

Why do I visualize someone grabbing the back of my undies like the pull cord on a lawn-mower?

Our friend Bill Scott, CCM prankster extraordinaire, asked me if I’d do a thing on morning show radio tips.  My first response was, “What on earth do I know about morning radio?”  And I think I’ve proven that over the years, haha.

First, about your show, are you having fun?!  If you’re not, everyone will know because it’s hard to hide.  If you’re not having a great time, find another party, fast!

I owe all my success to The Lord and Samantha, of Scott & Sam, with whom I’ve worked for many years.  It’s good to assume your on-air partner is more talented than you are; we have never fought over mic-time.  Instead we both go out of our way to make each other look great; when she was editing, every day she’d give me an additional 10 IQ points.  Now that I’m editing, I give myself another 10.  A great show is also easier to do if you understand each other’s roles with respect to the listeners.  “Oh yeah … What’s in it for them?”

Sometimes we’re laughing so hard that we’re blowing snot … But if it crosses a boundary for the listeners, ya gotta throw it out & don’t let it hit the air. That’s always been one of my little filters, “when in doubt, throw it out.”  For instance, in my experience sarcasm comes at the expense of sincerity & is a CCM ratings/fund-raising killer.  It could have killed my marriage … So I showed sarcasm the door and told my wife again how much I love her (& Bill Scott).

WHAT ABOUT DIMENSION, PUCKY?!  We’re always thinking about that last bit into the next one.  One of radio’s oldest rules that I just made up is, “be predictably unpredictable.”  Change it up.  Be honest about what types of material you offer the listeners and mix it up vertically and horizontally.

Say What?!?!  There are the words and there’s what’s between the words that listeners really hear.  “Heart touches,” last longer than anything else and you touch the heart with what’s between the words you use: Everyday when I get home from work my family greets me at the top of the stairs with kisses and hugs, one after the other, and finally our wiener-dog, Jett, like a fuzzy period at the end of a sentence.  What’s the sub-text?  Ok, your eyes were glazing, let me see if I can up my meager game.

Earlier I mentioned roles.  What is your role?  I’m a dad of 4 older kids in a successful marriage (whatever that is). I’m trying to be the families “spiritual leader” which somehow means I’m supposed to drive everywhere and carry everything; To be as fine a Sherpa as I can be.  Sam has a toddler and a stepson who wants to grow up to be a garbage man, because they only work one day a week.  On air Sam and I are honest about life’s struggles, and it resonates with listeners because, well, they tell us, (and more than a decade of research).  The only sugar coating we have is using humor to share the pain, or to help lighten the listener’s burdens.  We each approach the bit with who we really are and our honest responses within our role.

Clubby Christians.  There are so many people trying to do Christianity well, super equipped with all the “pat answers,” like me for most of my saved life … I finally gave up.  Modern Pharisees!  Don’t be like that.  Be willing to be honest and let an awkward ending hang there.  Sometimes in life there’s nothing you can (or should) say … That’s ok, convey that you have no words, or just be quiet, because it’s honest. Dropping all the “Clubby Christian” crutch word verbiage and talking like the rest of the species will help your show to grow.  I’ve had Christian  brothers tell me they’re going to “gird me up in prayer.”  Why do I visualize someone grabbing the back of my undies like the pull cord on a lawn-mower?  “He yanked & girded me up the hedge of protection.” Aaaagh!  On the Christian “bell curve,” Crusaders (the first five rows of any church on Sunday) only make up about 9% of the U.S. Christian population.  Talk like them and you can alienate the other 90% of your potential audience.  However, if you speak like an unchurched Christian (like I used to be, even having read the Bible through many times), no one will be alienated.  Listeners will actually understand you and will love your unpretentiousness, and your ratings will probably climb.

HERES THE HEADLINE, You only have 8 seconds!  Now to build a bit that will keep PPM’s on you until your ending … thanks to insight Jon Coleman of Coleman research, with what we shared over lunch.  Jon’s probably studied PPM more than any other researcher … Uh oh … Know when your bit is over, usually by that little twist at the end …

MORE LATER!!!

Scott ValentineScreen Shot 2014-06-24 at 7.58.32 PM

“Scott and Sam”

Home base: Star 991, New York, mornings

ScottAudio Syndication, Major Markets and beyond with stellar ratings in every daypart.

13 years of great (mostly, haha) ratings on KCMS-FM (mornings and PD)

Happier now than ever!

When Comrades Fall

June 21, 2014 — 13 Comments
Bill Scott

Bill Scott

This blog is designed to talk about media.  I want to take a turn and do something different on this blog for today.  It’s not written about any one person.  To be honest it’s been on my heart for a while.

I’ve been in Christian radio for over 30 years.  I’ve seen a lot of good people come and go.  Some of those folks were fallen comrades, to be very honest I was one of the fallen.  You learn real quick that you can go from HERO TO ZERO in sixty seconds.  Friends stop calling, people walk around you in the supermarket, you enter the black hole of loneliness.  I fell 7 years ago while running ZJAM Youth Ministries, many of you will remember that.  I lost everything because of my sin.  I hurt my family, staff, donors, listeners etc…  I sat alone in a small home, hoping someone would come find me.  No one ever knocked on my door to see how I was doing.  I can tell you 7 years later, I’ve never had a visit from my former church where I was an associate pastor for a number of years.  I’m not writing this so you will feel sorry for me but so you can get insight into the one who has fallen.  I was sorry for my sin, wanted restoration but very few wanted to deal with me and what I was going through.

Galatians 6:1-3 MSG

“…friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.”

I’ll be honest with you.  Before my fall, my response to folks who had fallen to sin was, “Well that was pretty stupid, how could they be so dumb.”  They were not dumb nor stupid but deceived by Satan.  Instead of seeking them out, I would brush my hands off and walk away.  I’ll be very, very honest with you, to this day I have leaders in my home town and around the country who still will not talk to me.  Do I feel sorry for myself, not at all.  I feel sorry for them because they have missed the heart of God.  God’s heart is to restore the fallen and to use YOU to be part of that process.  Yes, that might mean you’ll have to jump in the crap that your comrade created but isn’t that what Christ did for you?  He didn’t wait for you to get cleaned up but helped you while you were still living in all of your mistakes, sin and just plain crap.

My goal is to live out this verse and encourage you to do the same.  I try to follow up with those who are in my circle of influence and walk with them to restoration if they’ll allow me too.  No, I don’t approve of their sin but in most cases neither do they.  They just need to know someone still loves them. They need you to show up at their door and just sit and cry with them.  The only difference between them and you is the fact that everyone now knows their secret sin.   Lets not be full of religion.  Lets be willing to get dirty, invest in someones life and be part of the restoration.  Put it on your calendar to call them weekly so you don’t forget, take them to lunch…just be available.

I know what you are thinking, it’s going to be an awkward first call or knock on the door.  Yep, you are right but it’s worth it.  A while back I had a friend who was a leader at a very large church.  Everyone would know the church.  He had fallen do to moral failure.  My first response when I heard of the news was to sit down and cry and by the way, that is exactly what I did.  I knew what he was facing and would face.  I picked up the phone, left him a voicemail and asked for the chance to talk with him.  I simply said, “I don’t know everything that went down and I don’t need too.  I know you are a man of God, you are my friend and I would love to walk with you during this time.”  Recently I was in his area while traveling and we had the chance to get dinner.  He told me the following, “it’s been three years and only three or four people have called me on a regular basis to see how I am doing.”  He said this while crying on the phone.  He is doing great today, not because of me but because God used a group of men willing to take time out of their busy schedules to walk with him.

It’s time to step up!  Perhaps it’s time to shut up and step up.  We all have what it takes.  Can you imagine the difference we would have in our comrades lives if we lived out this verse?  Maybe you know someone that has fallen.  I would encourage you to take action today, right now, like in the next few minutes.  I hope you’ll take the challenge today and in the spirit it’s given.  Let go out and make a difference.

Bill Scott

Bill Scott

There is no one that loves radio more than I do.  Since I was 17 years old I’ve been working in radio.  I’ve enjoyed working at radio stations at every level, hosting syndicated programs and working as a consultant.

I hear many of my peers say there is light at the end of the tunnel, however, I don’t believe it’s all good, it could be a train coming at us if we don’t change the way we think.

As a teenager I can remember sitting in my car late at night, fighting the static while trying to listen to a great personalities on AM radio from Chicago, Detroit, Fort Wayne and New York City.  In Northern Michigan, after dark, I could pick up great radio stations like WOWO from Fort Wayne, WLS Chicago and WJR Detroit, not to mention other great stations from back in the day.  I would put up with the static just to try and hear what was going to happen next on WLS.  I loved Larry Lujack’s famous “Klunk Letter of the Day.”  There was no doubt AM radio ruled the airwaves.

Edwin Armstrong invited FM radio in 1933.  FM was the red headed step child, no threat at all to anyone.  AM continued to rule for another 40 some years.  On June 1, 1961, at 12:01 a.m. (EDT), WGFM became the first FM station in the United States to broadcast in stereo.  Again, no one took this as serious competition.  It wasn’t until mid 70’s that FM began to grow.  It seemed out of nowhere that FM became the choice of music lovers.  Near 1980 FM went mainstream and everybody was listening.

About 18 years ago I used to travel with a friend who carried books on the Internet to every sharathon we did.  He told me, “Bill, you will buy your cars, homes, and everything you’ll ever want online, plus you’ll listen to radio online.”  I have to tell you I wasn’t sure if I believed him.  It just seemed too wild.  He said, everything we will do is going to be online.  My friend went on to begin the first online radio station, needless to say he’s a wealthy man.  Although that was 18 years ago and for much of that period it was hard to hear good quality music when streaming, that day is over.  Like FM, streaming online is no longer the red headed step chid.  Much like AM back in the day, FM doesn’t realize the impact that online listening can have on their radio station.  For a long time we would say, well it buffers, you can only get it on your desktop computer, you cannot get it in the car or while out for a jog…sound familiar?  Today we can stream crystal clear, not only on our computers but on our phones, to the dash of our car and while I am jogging.  The other day I was driving from Nashville to Johnson City TN, a five hour drive, pretty much all country driving.  I streamed an online station to the dash board of my rental car and it was full stereo and never buffered once.  The red headed step child has grown up.  So the light at the end of the tunnel might be a train.

After AM realized that FM was picking up speed, they tried to compete with music and failed.  It wasn’t until AM began offering something different than FM did before they had listeners once again fighting through the static to listen.  As long as AM competed with music, they lost.  The same applies to FM radio and their new competitor online radio.  As long as FM competes with music, it will lose.  There has to be a reason to tune in to FM.  If it’s all about the music, then I’ll use Spotify and hear what I want in the order I want it.  FM will have to give listeners something they cannot get while streaming.  My humble opinion is that it’s coming full circle, and we’ll need compelling personalities back on the radio.  The days of time, temp and news are over.  I have time, temp, news, and traffic all on my phone.  The question is how do we provide compelling content in order to keep our listeners.  We also have to figure out how to build community with our listeners and really connect.

Lets not see history repeat itself.  I believe radio can compete and thrive but not in it’s current form.  So the question is, what can we provide on FM that online cannot compete with?  Don’t respond with the answer being local.  Being local is the icing on the cake but won’t get you across the finish line by itself.

I would love to read comments on this piece today.  Idea’s, questions, comments…

Be About Something

June 11, 2014 — 1 Comment
Paul Anthony WAY FM

Paul Anthony
WAY FM

The first sentence of this was going to read, “Pursuing a large cume is quite possibly unscriptural.” I was going to use the example of Jesus (because that’s what we do to support very bold and foolish statements.) I was going to bring up that fact that after Jesus fed the 5,000 (some estimate that there were as many as double that in attendance) that His next message to the crowd was (paraphrased) “You’re only following me because I fed you and you want me to do more things like that and satisfy your temporary need. Try this on for size…eat my flesh and drink my blood and then you can be my followers.” The crowds left Him. Quickly. That was gross, Jesus.

If I had been a disciple, I would have been confused. Why would Jesus deliver such a divisive and polarizing message? Why would He say something so, well, unsafe for the family? Did He realize that there might have been children listening? Didn’t He realize that saying stuff like that was no way to build a larger audience?

I think Jesus knew exactly what He was doing. He wasn’t concerned with getting more people to listen to His message. He was focused on doing the will of His Father. Where I would have wanted to see if we could have gotten an even bigger crowd next time, He was more interested people counting the costs of following Him.

All of that is well and good but it has nothing to do with Christian radio so that’s why I’m not going to say something so outlandish and preposterous as I had planned.

Thank goodness I didn’t say all of that.

According to recent research, only 9% of Christian adults have a biblical worldview, yet we have more Christian radio listeners than ever before. Yikes…and why?

When we talk about great companies and what makes a great brand, we talk about distinctives, strategies and objectives. Whether they are known for not being open on Sundays so their employees can spend time in church and with family, providing their users with a seamless and almost magical experience between software and hardware, or setting the standard for premium coffee shop enjoyment, great brands are known for being ABOUT something and almost always it’s not about what you think it’s about. It’s not about chicken, semiconductors, or coffee really. It’s about something much deeper.

What are we ABOUT in Christian radio? Are we about getting more listeners, getting more donors or getting noticed more?

It seems like some of the best brands have the attitude that the more they stick to their guns about their values, even if their values tend to go against the grain, the more impact they have. We may have more listeners than ever before, but how much impact are we having on Christians, let alone, the culture?

Why did God put you in Christian radio? Why does God allow you to have access to the hundreds, thousands or millions of listeners that He has entrusted to you? What purpose does God want you to fulfill in your work in Christian radio? What impact does He want you to have? It might go deeper than getting more cume, more donors or more attention.

Let’s make sure that we are about what He wants us to be about.Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 9.24.59 PM

-Paul Anthony

Paul Anthony is currently with WAY-FM in Nashville, TN serving as Regional Director of Donor Relationships. He is the former manager of WAY-FM/Wichita, KS and prior to that was with WIBI-FM. His email is paul@wayfm.com